Key Congressional Elections in History

October 25, 2018


With the 2018 midterm elections fast approaching, this episode delves into the history of congressional elections, from the Founding to today. What did the Founders expect congressional elections to look like? What did they look like throughout the 19th and 20th centuries? How did these elections lead to the political tribalism of the 21st century? And what can the most consequential congressional elections, the ones that realigned and redefined our nation, tell us about the upcoming election? 


Note: An early transcript of the podcast is linked here. This text may not be in its final form, accuracy may vary, and it may be updated or revised in the future.


Matthew Green is a professor of politics at The Catholic University of America who teaches and writes on the U.S. Congress, congressional leadership, and political parties. He is the author of numerous academic articles and books including, The Speaker of the House: A Study of Leadership and a forthcoming book length study of Newt Gingrich. He previously served as a congressional aide, from 1995-98.

Thomas E. Mann is a senior fellow in governance studies at The Brookings Institution, where he has held numerous positions for decades, and resident scholar at the Institute of Governmental Studies at University of California, Berkeley. Mann has taught and written extensively on Congress, elections, campaign finance law, and redistricting. His numerous books include The Broken Branch: How Congress is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track coauthored with Norm Ornstein.

​​​​​​Jeffrey Rosen is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Constitution Center, the only institution in America chartered by Congress “to disseminate information about the United States Constitution on a nonpartisan basis.” 

Our Interactive Constitution is the leading digital resource about the debates and text behind the greatest vision of human freedom in history, the U.S. Constitution. Here, scholars from across the legal and philosophical spectrum interact with each other to explore the meaning of each provision of our founding document. 

This episode was engineered by Greg Scheckler, and produced by Jackie McDermott and Scott Bomboy. Research was provided by Lana Ulrich, Madison Poulter, and Jackie McDermott.

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